LinkedIn is all about building connections, and the best way to do this is to provide value. This should be your primary mission on LinkedIn; not to make sales, but to…
- Build relationships
- Provide value
Personal branding is vital on LinkedIn, especially for building relationships.
It is extremely likely that people will check you out on LinkedIn prior to connecting or working with you. For this reason, you need to ensure your personal ‘brand’ online matches your brand in person.
Optimize Your Search Profile
Because LinkedIn is a search engine, the words and terms you use are important. Think about the keywords you would like to be discovered for by employers and connections. Add these into all the areas they will see immediately - Headline and Current Job Description - and remember to include as many as you can in your Bio/About/Summary, Skills, and your actual posts where possible (more about all of these later)
Your profile picture is one of the first things visitors see when they search for you on LinkedIn, and people respond well to people’s faces - it helps them form strong, human connections.
You want people you’ve met at networking to be able to identify you immediately, if not from your name, from your picture. You also want new people arriving to your page to have a clear idea of who you are.
You don’t necessarily need a formal headshot, just a clear, high-def image of you.
Consider the following:
- The photo should contain just your head and shoulders
- Make sure you’re smiling
- Use the best lighting you can
- It should not include anyone else
- Dress appropriately for your industry
The Background image is the one that sits on the top of your profile. You need to make sure yours says something about you, or your business or brand.
You’ll probably find that you are currently using the default image, which is the same as everyone else’s who has not yet set a background photo. You need to change this to show that you keep a close eye on LinkedIn and the latest updates. To change it, head to your profile and select the pencil in the top right corner.
If you represent a business, aim to use similar colours and branding to that of the business iteself - this will demonstrate that you are proud of where you work. It will also help people associate you and the business as one.
If you’re representing only yourself, you could use your background image to demonstrate your key values or offerings, or an association with a particular industry.
For a really professional finish, the measurement should be 1884 x 396
Your headline is make or break. Think of it as a newspaper headline - if it doesn’t grip people, they won’t read it.
You need to position this carefully and ensure it clearly answers the Who, What and How. It usually includes your job title, but you can also use it to help people understand what you do. If they don’t, the may not continue to check out the rest of your profile.
- WHO.. you are and who you help.
- WHAT… do you do/offer? What are the results?
- HOW… do you help businesses?
Don’t forget the keywords…
- Some people lead with results for their headline, e.g. “I guide business owners to earn thousands in revenue via coaching and consultancy.”
- Some people lead with their credentials, e.g. “Google accredited marketer and owner of ______, Agency of the Year 2019.”
- Some people lead with what they do, e.g. “Building engaging, search-friendly websites for UK car dealerships and retailers.”
As you only have 120 characters, we would avoid including your phone/email address - people can contact you directly on LinkedIn through a simple connection request/phone call. The chances are, they won’t want to email/call you straight away - they’ll continue reading the rest of your profile if they’re interested in contacting you.
As an example, we would suggest something along the lines of:
Business Coach | Mentor | Advisor | Leadership, Change Management & Business Development | Getting the results you need.
Your summary is where you can provide a bit more detail, but be careful not to put people off with too much text.
Continuing on from your headline, it needs to tell people what you do, how you do it, and who you do it for. Focus on the value you provide in terms of the connections you make with clients and the results you give them. Make it specific if you need to - include facts and numbers. Highlight your most significant accomplishments that are related to the people and organisations you want to connect with.
Write this in the first person - it needs to feel personable, as if you’re talking directly to the person reading it almost. Avoid jargon or acronyms that others may not understand.
Don’t be afraid to talk a bit about your own passions and hobbies - this gives people an insight into who you are as a person, which is important for building relationships.
People connect with people - not necessarily what they do. They’ll find you through what you do, but they’ll form a connection with your personal brand. By including a bit about who you are outside of business, you immediately make your profile unique from most others on LinkedIn. Even if it’s just “Oh, and I love being outdoors.”
Add your contact details in your summary section. This is because, by default, only 1st degree connections can get in touch with you directly via the Message button at the top. While including them in your headline is a waste of characters, here, you have 2,000 characters to utilise!
Just because you have 2,000 characters certainly does not mean you have to use them, though. If you do include bulks of text, separate them with line spacing so it’s easier to tackle. We would suggest 5-10 sentences (2-4 paragraphs) for your summary.
Have a go at writing one yourself and ask yourself if you’ve included the following (not necessarily in this order):
- What you do
- Why you do it (what do you enjoy most about it, for instance?)
- Who you do it for
- Your expertise
- Examples of results/data to back up your expertise
- A bit about you outside of work
- Contact details
- Your background
- Demonstrate your passion
- Show your personality
- Is it written in the first person (I, me)? Does it make me seem approachable?
Give Some Thought To Selecting Your Skills
You can add up to 50 skills on your LinkedIn profile, which sounds quite a lot, but you’d probably be surprised - LinkedIn gives you room to be quite specific. Make sure they correspond to the skills that potential employers or connections are searching for. Look at the skills jobs or board positions require and add them to your profile.
You can personalise the URL of your LinkedIn profile. If the name is already used, think about adding your middle name or your occupation.
Why should you do this? It makes it easier for people to find you, and presents you as someone who has an eye for detail.